Buying a property is a big step involving a substantial long-term financial commitment, so think hard about what you can afford. You will need to consider the assets you have – like savings – as well as the money that’s coming in and going out.
Although it may reduce your buying options, you don’t want to commit to a mortgage and then realise you can’t afford some of the nicer things in life! It may sound obvious but take time to think of all the things you spend money on throughout the year, even without a mortgage.
We have qualified experienced people who can assist you in finding the right mortgage for you, just ask and we would be delighted to help.
Because of the credit crunch, it is vital that you secure a mortgage with a lender before starting the searching process. This way, when you find the right property, you will avoid being beaten to it by another buyer and you will also be in a much stronger negotiating position.
You will need to consider what aspects of a property are most important to you:
- number of bedrooms / bathrooms.
- parking provisions.
- separate kitchen and dining room.
- private garden.
- how much time/money you may want to spend redecorating etc.
Once you have found the property of your dreams, the next step is to make an offer. It is important to consider a variety of factors when choosing your price level in order to achieve the right deal for you. Take a step back to logically look at all the things that matter before making your offer.
First time buyers, buyers with no chain and buyers who have pre-arranged mortgages have a head start on most of the competition. If this is you, then make the agent and seller aware of this, as this can put you in a very favourable negotiating position, especially if the seller is in a chain.
Now to instruct a a Conveyancer
Tips for choosing and using a conveyancer
Get at least three conveyancers’ quotes well before you start looking for property. Ask friends, family and your estate agent for recommendations.
Tell your conveyancer if you want answers to any specific questions in advance.
Let them know when you would like to exchange contracts and complete. Tell them you will require regular updates of how the purchase is progressing.
Try to negotiate a no sale – no fee deal, so if the deal falls through you don’t pay anything.
Check and compare quotes carefully making sure they are like for like. Decide if you also want the conveyancer to arrange an Environmental
Search, which will give information such as flood risk, radon levels and local mines in the area.
Here at Kernow’s we can again help and assist you in finding a conveyancer, just ask and we would be delighted to help.
When you decide to put your properties on the market, it is a difficult decision to choose your agent. Agents offer similar services, with differing commission fees – it is a competitive market.
Our advice to you is pick the agent you trust to give you an honest evaluation, and who you think will work hardest for you.
Selling houses is not a “numbers game”, and the agent who goes out in a positive way to find you a buyer is worth more than those who sit back and wait.
The commission rate is not as crucial as it may seem – 1/4 or 1/2 percent can be achieved by good negotiation of the agent to get you the best possible amount for your property.
We also advise a sole agent rather than multiple, as the majority of properties are viewed on the internet – so find an agent with a good website and connections to site such as right move and yell.com.
We wish you the best of luck!
Q. How do I know the value of my home?
A. The property market is exactly that – a market. Therefore, there is no secret formula to value properties. You will not know the true value of your home until you find out what the buyers in the market place are willing to pay for it! However there are some hard and safe rules to follow when deciding on the asking price for your home.
Firstly, don’t simply choose the estate agent quoting the highest price as some agents may deliberately inflate the asking price simply to secure your instruction, this can cause your property to be left on the market as buyers pass it by for better value properties.
Equally, you must be aware of agents who will under value your home as they could be looking for a quick commission!
A good agent will provide you with comparable evidence of similar properties which are on the market and will form the competition for your property. They will also be able to provide you with details of prices achieved by similar properties that have sold recently.
Q. Should I sell first, or find?
Although circumstances may dictate that this isn’t a choice you have, given you have the choice, the answer very straight forward. If you wish to save money (and stress!) you must look to find a buyer for your own property before identifying your next home.
f you do not, you will run the risk of having a weak negotiating position. Not being a ‘proceedable’ buyer means many agents will not take offers from you seriously. You also run the risk of having to pay much more to secure the property you want than you would if you already had a buyer for your property.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have seen the property you want but have not yet found a buyer for your property, you may find that you accept a lower offer on your property just so that you can secure your buying position for your onward purchase. If you are unlucky enough to find yourself in this situation the moving process could cost you considerably more than it would have if you had found a buyer for your property first, achieving the top price. And then been in a strong negotiating position to get the best deal for your onward purchase.
Experienced estate agents have seen thousands of pounds lost in these situations and the best advice is where possible to avoid finding your next property until you have a buyer.
Q. How can I achieve the best/top price for my home?
This is an area where you as the vendor and your agent need to work very closely together.
Your agent should present your property in the best possible light. You should choose an agent with an inviting office where potential buyers will want to visit. Your agent should also provide good internet coverage, as the internet is a growing source of business for estate agents as more and more people use the internet to search for their next property. Also ensure your agent will advertise your property in the local papers and will also display your property in their window.
As a vendor it is important that you also present your home in the best possible light. Remember that first impressions count. Make sure the front garden, front door and entrance hall all look as tidy and spacious as possible. You can also de-clutter and depersonalise your home and put away, or store anything not used on a daily basis.
It is important to remember that not everyone has the same taste in ornaments and décor so the less personalised your property is, the more people your property will appeal to.
Q. Should I suspend the future marketing of my own home when I have agreed a sale?
In most cases it would be considered proper and fair to do so, although this is a personal decision. If you decide to continue marketing your home once an offer has been accepted, you run the risk of your buyer continuing to look for other properties also. The result is an increased chance of the buyers offer being withdrawn. Vendors will usually suspend marketing once a proceedable offer has been accepted.
The decision to suspend the marketing of your property should be made with the position of your buyer in mind. If you have accepted an offer from a buyer who has yet to sell their property and they are unable to proceed without the sale going ahead then you should question the benefit of suspending the marketing of your home. There will be no guarantee that your buyer will sell their home in the time frame or for the price they expect.
Q. How do I know my buyer can afford my property?
Many buyers will be buying with a mortgage and it is important for you to know that your perspective buyers can access the funds to buy your property.
You can never be 100% certain that a buyer will have a mortgage accepted on any given property until a survey has been done and the mortgage application passed by the underwriters. However if your agent has properly qualified your buyer then the chances of a mortgage application being refused should be slight.
Many agents will ask buyers for an AIP/DIP (agreement/decision in principle) prior to advising their client to accept an offer from them. This AIP/DIP is a certificate from a mortgage lender to say that in principle the will lend the buyer a specified amount. Although this should not be taken as proof that a buyer can get a mortgage up to the specified value it is a good indication that they can get a mortgage to that amount.
If you receive an offer from a perspective buyer you should ask your agent if they have seen the buyers AIP/DIP. Even better most estate agents offer mortgage advice and the mortgage advisor in the branch may be able financially qualify he buyer for you.
Be very wary of any offer which has not been financially qualified by your agent, it is your agents job to ensure that your buyer is financially qualified as thoroughly as they can be. You should not be expected to accept an offer from anyone who has not been properly financially qualified.
Q. When should I instruct my solicitor?
The earlier the better. You don’t have to instruct your solicitor until you have found a buyer/property. However, by instructing your solicitor earlier you could well save time.
When you place your property on the market, your solicitor can often get paperwork ready so that the contracts can be sent out as soon as you have agreed a sale.
Q. What sort of survey should I have?
There are currently three types of survey available to you and the cost of these surveys can vary dramatically. You can choose from:
Full structural survey
The valuation report will be required if you are buying with a mortgage, you then have the option to pay extra for the Homebuyers report or Full structural survey if you wish to. Your agent/mortgage advisor will be able to explain in more details the benefits of each type of survey.
Q. Do I need a deposit, and if so when will I have to pay it?
You will require a deposit unless you are using a 100% mortgage to purchase your property. Your agent is likely to have a mortgage advisor who can explain your options to you.
Prior to exchange of contracts it is usual to pay a 10% deposit to your solicitor, in many cases 5% will be acceptable. If you are using a 100% mortgage your mortgage advisor will explain the process to you.
Your solicitor will need your deposit monies available to exchange contracts, it is therefore advisable to ensure that these funds are available early on.
Q. When can I pick up the keys to my new home?
The keys for your new home will usually be held by the estate agent you are buying through and can be collected on the day of completion. However, you will have to wait for solicitors to confirm that the appropriate finances have completed at the bank before keys can be released to you.
Sometimes, this can delay formal completion until late in the completion day.
Although delays in completion can be very frustrating, especially if you are selling a property which has already completed. The estate agent is not permitted to release the keys to you until they have been informed of formal completion by the solicitor.
If you do experience a delay on the day of completion it is always a good idea to check that your solicitor has actually transferred your funds!
Q. Is selling really as stressful as everyone says?
In short, it shouldn’t be. Choosing your agent carefully will help. Your agent needs to share an understanding of your requirements and time scales. A good agent with experience will recognise the fact that introducing a buyer is only the start of the process. An agent should be there to manage your whole move, including liaising with other parties involved in your chain such as solicitors, mortgage companies and other agents. Of course, your interests should be best represented at all times.
If your agent provides a good after sales service, qualifies your buyer’s financial status and chain details at the outset, and maintains good contact once a sale is agreed, then this will certainly go a long way to reducing the stress
The Kernow sales staff have numerous years of experience within a highly demanding estate agency industry and fully understand the processes which can make the whole moving process as stress free as possible.
Advice on Renting your property or as a tenant
Renting in England is very popular, some people look at long term renting as in 3-4 years.
While some people look to rent a property for a short period, either to break a chain when buying or selling or if they have re-located to a new area.
What is the benefit of renting my property out?
You can rent your property out and receive an income for the property, it can also be used as a way to help assist you buy a new property, with a let to buy (not buy to let)
So you use the equity in your existing property to assist you in the purchase of your new home.
The property may increase in price, thus providing a nest egg for you, when you retire.
What are the dangers of renting?
There are risks when renting a property out, these could be
No tenant, a void period.
A bad tenant either, does not pay the rent or does damage to the property.
The laws are always changing, so you need to keep up to date with new legislation.
Maintenance, you need to ensure you have an amount of money put aside, so you can deal with maintenance issues quickly.
How can I reduce the dangers?
Using a good agent, to rent your property.
Its as simple as that, remember this is an investment property for you, stay a step away from the tenant and let the agent do the work for you.
But make sure, your agent has the resources and experience to deal with problems.
Make sure they are part of a government recognised Ombudsman and have Client Money Protection in place.
Whilst these are legal requirements for any agent, unfortunately some do not have this in place.
Take a deposit from the tenant, deposits can be only up t a certain amount of the rent, speak to your agent to ensure they have a deposit and have it secured.
Again, evicting a tenant where you have not properly secured a deposit is fraught with problems.
Ensure that your agent has a good tenancy agreement in place, one where it shows who is responsible for what.
Make sure the prospective tenant has been reference checked properly, here we use a recognised provider, so we can tell if someone has bad credit, or has had a problem in a previous tenancy before.
Lastly, if you’re not happy with a tenant, and they have not signed a contract, say NO.
It is your property; you are better waiting a week or so and have a god tenant than rushing in to get the property occupied and have issues later.
Ensure, you or your agent, if it is fully managed, inspects the property on a regular basis, this helps to identify any possible problems, not only with the property but that the tenant might have as well.
It is always a good idea, to deal with maintenance issues quickly, this way you stand a better chance of having a happy tenant who will stay longer in the property and thus avoiding times the property will be empty.
Here at Kernow Properties, we are part of the Property Redress scheme, Client Money Protection, use the Deposit Protection scheme and have systems in place to chase any late payments.
We use reputable local contractors, all with relevant qualifications and liability insurances.
What type of service can an agent provide?
There are a few different services a good agent can provide, though all agents might not provide them all.
Find A Tenant – Says what it does on the tin, the agent will find a tenant, set up a tenancy, sometimes with an inventory and possible secure the deposit for you.
Rent Collection only – This is where the agent will find a tenant, collect rent and pass it onto you, but you would be responsible for maintenance of the property.
Fully Managed – Again, says what it does on the tin, the agent would find a tenant, deal with inventory’s tenancy agreement and deposit, then they would also collect rent and deal with maintenance for you. You would hear from the agent, usually once a month with a statement unless there was a big maintenance issue that needed to be discussed.
Advice for a tenant
Renting a property can be a good idea, for lots of people in different circumstances.
Renting a property, you need to ask very similar questions as if you were going to buy.
But also Is the home suitable, is it in your budget, can you afford it?
Ask what is included in the property, are any white goods included, is there a maintenance charge you have to pay?
Are any of the utilities included?
Are there any areas of the property that you are not permitted to use, if you need a property with a garage, then find later the property has a garage but is not included it would be very disappointing for you.
Does the agent have Client Money Protection, where do they secure the deposits?
Does the agent have permission from the landlord to deal with emergency repairs?
Does the agent belong to an ombudsman?
Can I bring my pets, some landlords will allow this, but some won’t?